Powermatic 3520C - Initial Impressions

  • Advertise with us
Review by edapp posted 03-13-2019 12:29 PM 2112 views 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Powermatic 3520C - Initial Impressions Powermatic 3520C - Initial Impressions Powermatic 3520C - Initial Impressions Click the pictures to enlarge them

Wanted to do a quick review of this because it is relatively new and have not seen a review of it posted here yet. This is only my initial impressions! I will follow up in a year or so when I have more time on the machine….

Another caveat – this is my first lathe. So take all of these things with a grain of salt. I do however have realistic expectations based on owning many tools from many brands and some pretty nice ones mixed in. This was by far my most expensive single tool purchase, and first powermatic, so I was expecting a lot out of it and I am not disappointed.

First impressions this thing is massive, heavy, and well made. I found no defects in the casting or paint, everything looks like it should and fits together very well. It was packaged well and there was no damage from shipping, which is a risk with some other brands. It was not packaged as thoroughly as the laguna products I have (no styrofoam), but significantly better than the grizzly products I have ordered (it was actually bolted to the pallet, and the pallet was high quality).

Even though the total weight is over 700 lbs, I expected to be able to assemble myself.. that was not the case. If you have an overhead lift, you may be able to. I bolted the legs on the bed upside down, and with help of a friend (still wasn’t easy!) we rolled it upright. The curve of the legs helps tremendously here.

Beyond getting it upright there is not much to the assembly. You do need to wire the power cord, which is setup to be direct wired into a box. I stripped the ends and installed a plug on the end which was no big deal. I am 6’ tall and find the spindle height with the risers installed to be just right.

Picked up a load of hickory to practice on around the same time I purchased the lathe. My plan is to rough turn most of this into bowls and platters of different shapes and sizes, and by the time the first ones are dry hopefully I will have enough practice time under my belt to finish them into decent end products. Mounted up my first blank and gave it a whirl. This thing is smooth as silk and extremely quiet.

So far I have turned two rough bowl blanks while figuring out the tools, and it is an absolute blast! I am in the middle of making a small dresser and since I started turning these I really haven’t wanted to finish it! I may have to lock myself out of this side of the shop for awhile until I finish the dresser.

Things I love:
750+ pounds!
Fit and finish is superb
Control box moves and is magnetic. A very nice feature!
Switches feel high quality. I like that there is a main power switch on the back of the machine (out of reach of anyone that doesn’t know the tool).
The speed range is great and on High you can go 150-3300 so there is little need to change belts.
The power feels endless… have not turned a lot but the blank is not slowing much on a heavy cut.
Speed changes are extremely smooth. Very easy to dial in the perfect speed.

Things I don’t love:
Nothing so far. Will update in the future!

If anyone has questions about this new lathe please let me know and I would be happy to answer them if I can.

View edapp's profile


340 posts in 2107 days

6 comments so far

View waho6o9's profile


8833 posts in 3255 days

#1 posted 03-13-2019 06:03 PM

That’s awesome thanks for the review!

View fivecodys's profile


1603 posts in 2314 days

#2 posted 03-13-2019 09:43 PM

Wow! That’s a beast!
Looks like you are going to have some good natural light as well.
Thanks for the review.

-- A bad day woodworking is still better than a good day working.

View TheDane's profile


5781 posts in 4341 days

#3 posted 03-14-2019 12:23 AM

Couldn’t agree more … I have had my PM3520C for a year now, and haven’t found anything I don’t like. I have had a lot of experience turning on the B model, and the C corrects everything that bugged me about the A and B series machines. I ordered mine with the swing-away tailstock, which is a real life-saver.

I built a shelf for mine … the shelf has 140 pounds of sandbags tucked into it, which brings the weight on my machine up to about 850 pounds …

The back side of the shelf is a convenient place to run electrical and mount a power strip …

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View edapp's profile


340 posts in 2107 days

#4 posted 03-14-2019 11:45 AM

TheDane – Great looking setup! I dont think I have enough room for the swing away tail stock, but I can see a bed extension in my future to accomplish the same goal. Only thing that would make this lathe better in my opinion would be if it were a 4520C!

I have also thought about building a shelf, and will likely do so once I have settled on a final location for the lathe in this corner of my shop. However… my shelf will not look half as good as yours!

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4012 days

#5 posted 03-18-2019 03:11 PM

Looks like a wonderful beast of a machine. It makes my 22 year old Record lathe look more like a sewing machine. Congratulations on a great buy and I’m sure you will get many years of enjoyment out of it.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Andybb's profile


2625 posts in 1281 days

#6 posted 03-18-2019 04:09 PM

Wow! That s a beast!

Exactly my first thought…”That thing is a beast!” Thanks for the review. Best of luck with it.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics